Multi-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis ofBordetella pertussisisolates circulating in Poland in the period 1959-2013

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Purpose.Despite the long history of pertussis vaccination and high vaccination coverage in Poland and many other developed countries, pertussis incidence rates have increased substantially, making whooping cough one of the most prevalent vaccine-preventable diseases. Among the factors potentially involved in pertussis resurgence, the adaptation of the Bordetella pertussis population to country-specific vaccine-induced immunity through selection of non-vaccine-type strains still needs detailed studies.Methodology.Multi-locus variable-number tandem repeat analysis (MLVA), also linked to MLST and PFGE profiling, was applied to trace the genetic changes in the B. pertussis population circulating in Poland in the period 1959-2013 versus country-specific vaccine strains.Results.Generally, among 174 B. pertussis isolates, 31 MLVA types were detected, of which 11 were not described previously. The predominant MLVA types of recent isolates in Poland were different from those of the typical isolates circulating in other European countries. The MT27 type, currently predominant in Europe, was rarely seen and detected in only five isolates among all studied. The features of the vaccine strains used for production of the pertussis component of a national whole-cell diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis (DTP) vaccine, as studied by MLVA and MLST tools, were found to not match those observed in the currently circulating B. pertussis isolates in Poland.Conclusions.Differences traced by MLVA in relation to the MLST and PFGE profiling confirmed that the B. pertussis strain types currently observed elsewhere in Europe, even if appearing in Poland, were not able to successfully disseminate within a human population in Poland that has been vaccinated with a whole-cell pertussis vaccine not used in other countries.

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